Wednesday, 16 May 2012

LegoLand & Sentosa

Asia's first Legoland opens in Malaysia

Asia's first Legoland theme park opened to packed crowds on Saturday in southern Malaysia, with its cluster of attractions expected to transform the sleepy region into a thriving tourist hub.

An eager crowd of 10,000 people visited the 76-acre theme park in Johor state -- across a narrow waterway from Singapore -- which features a variety of rides and thousands of Lego models made out of the popular toy bricks.

The visitors were greeted by costumed characters as confetti and balloons were launched into the air amid a special performance by a marching brass band from Denmark. 

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Legoland in Johor to open on Sept 15 
Legoland in Johor to open on Sept 15

ASIA'S first Legoland theme park, dedicated to the popular toy bricks, will open in Malaysia in September, several months ahead of schedule, the company said Wednesday.

Siegfried Boerst, general manager of Legoland Malaysia, said more than 35,000 annual passes had already been sold for the park featuring more than 40 roller coasters, race cars and other attractions in southern Johor state.

Of those, more than one third had been sold in neighbouring Singapore.

About one million people are expected to visit the 76-acre (31-hectare) park in the first year.

The park is already 75 per cent complete with most of the rides and infrastructure in place. Contractors will begin next month to install the Lego models made out of more than 50 million bricks, Boerst said.

When completed, Legoland Malaysia will be the sixth of its kind in the world featuring the Danish toy bricks after those in Denmark, Britain, California, Florida and Germany.

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Sentosa celebrates 40 years
Sentosa celebrates 40 years

Visitors to Sentosa on Saturday were treated to a "Balloonza", where stiltwalkers in balloon costumes in the shape of flowers and insects took to a parade at the Merlion Plaza.Held this weekend with three shows per day, the "Sentosa Balloonza" is part of the island resort's 40th anniversary celebrations which will take place over four months starting from May.

Activities promise fun for the family, with balloon sculpting workshops, balloon shows, and a Samba Malasa performance by students from the Singapore Management University.

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Pilgrims to Tibet advised to stop trek

Pilgrims to Tibet advised to stop trek
*Above: Friends and family members of the eight Singaporeans returning from their ill-fated pilgrimage receiving them at Changi Airport.

The group of Singaporeans who were making a pilgrimage to Tibet persisted on climbing the sacred Mount Kailash although they were told that May was not a good time because of inclement weather.

They had wanted to be at a lake there on Vesak Day, which celebrates Buddha's birthday. They managed to reach Lake Manasarovar on Vesak Day, but out of the 10 who did so, two of them did not make it back to Singapore.

Ms Alice Sim, 59, and Mr Raymond Chan Lay Ho, 66, died of altitude sickness-related complications two days later.

Ms Joanne He, 44, managing director of the travel agent which had arranged the tour, Today Travel in People's Park Complex, told The Straits Times that it was the first time they had helped arrange a group to go to the mountain on a pilgrimage.

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Shanghai Disneyland to have "local flavours"
Shanghai Disneyland to have

SHANGHAI - Site formation work has been completed at the Shanghai Disney Resort project, laying the groundwork for the construction of a theme park featuring "fun food elements" and Chinese culture.

A total of 4.2 million cubic meters of water were extracted and 18 million meters of wick drains laid in a 1.68-square-kilometer area in Shanghai's eastern suburbs, in what project authorities said was the largest site formation project in the world.

The work has been done with "record quality", said Howard Brown, senior vice-president of Shanghai Disney Resort, adding that it marks a milestone in the construction of the resort, which will open at the end of 2015.

More than 100,000 tests were conducted to ensure the quality of the site formation, which started on April 8 last year.

"Today marks a significant milestone in the development of Shanghai Disney Resort," said Bill Ernest, president and managing director (Asia) of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

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Singapore's first kids club by the beach opens

Singapore's first kids club, the Port of Lost Wonder (POLW), officially opens today at Sentosa's Palawan Beach.

Spanning 6,177 square metres, the new attraction features a pirate ship water-play area, picnic decks, outdoor play areas for toddlers, F&B and retail outlets as well as indoor and outdoor activities.

The pirate ship water-play area can accommodate up to 100 kids and adults are allowed within the area if they are accompanying their children.

POLW Wonder Crew will also be stationed to ensure safety at all times.

An outdoor play area called Curiosity Island lets children participate in various activities and an air-conditioned Play Den provides a comfortable hideout.

A toddlers' play area called Hatch Patch allows little ones to crawl and roll around, while families can hold picnics on The Deck.

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A taste of Italy onboard Costa Victoria

From its interior furnishing down to its entertainment offerings and cuisine, Italian cruise liner Costa Victoria prides itself as being quintessentially Italian.

Its tagline reads 'Cruising Italian Style' and with good reason - the moment you step onto the ship, you are greeted by a cheery couple wearing Italian folk costumes in the colours of red, green and white.

Having opened a local office in March, Costa Cruises will use Singapore as a regional hub for the Victoria, with plans to deploy more ships for Southeast Asia.

The Costa Victoria made its maiden voyage to Singapore on April 30 and will return in November for its Singapore-based sailings to Malaysia and Thailand.

Eleven sailings of three, four and seven nights have been scheduled.

The cruise leaves every Wednesday and Saturday from Nov to Jan for places like Malacca, Langkawi, Penang, Koh Samui and Laem Chabang.

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A trishaw ride to Singapore's history

A trishaw ride to Singapore's history

Tourists who end up going to Singapore now head straight for the cosmopolitan appeal of world-class cuisine and global brand names. A local Brunei traveller once tweeted that "Singapore has anything and everything that money can buy", and to some extent this statement is true.

Singapore's skylines are getting higher and higher, and buildings and technology are transforming this island into one of the top holiday destinations in Asia.

While the modern aspect of Singapore is gaining popularity year-on-year, it's the less modern areas of Singapore that travellers are starting to forget.

People tend to forget that as much as Singapore is the epitome of Asian development, it is also rich in cultural diversity, and the best way to go about experiencing that is through a trishaw ride.

Travellers who wish to take a short trishaw tour around the cultural village of Singapore can make their way down to the Albert Court Village Hotel, located in the heart of Arab Street and Little India. What used to be pre-war shoplot was refurbished in the 1990s into a hotel that maintains its colonial exterior.

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